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U.S. OPEN PREVIEW There, as you might


recall, McIlroy took full ad- vantage of rain-softened con- ditions to win by eight shots


offended. He knew the low scores resulted mostly from Mother Nature’s handiwork, and he knows the Olympic Club—without serious tinkering and assuming a typically dry June in San Francisco—will yield few similarly low scores. Remember, Janzen won


at even-par in ’98. The lowest score among the four Open winners at Olympic was Simpson (3-under). “Par should be a good


I think this will be the hardest start in U.S.Open history. The first six holes


will be brutal. –USGA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MIKE DAVIS


and shatter the tournament scoring record at 16-under- par. No fewer than 20 players finished in red numbers. The purists howled, mor- ally offended that the U.S. Open—the tournament known for punishing tour pros—could become so tame and forgiving. USGA executive direc- tor Mike Davis, the widely respected course set-up guru, was not the least bit


score at the U.S. Open,” Davis said. “Unless I’m completely missing some- thing, this will be a really difficult test at Olympic. We really want our Open to be the toughest test of the year. We want to test every part of a player’s game, physically and mentally, but we want it to be fair. We don’t want to see well-exe- cuted shots penalized.” Olympic officially will


measure 7,170 yards for the Open, 373 yards longer than it did in 1998 but still more than 400 yards shorter than Congressional’s Blue Course last year. Northern California’s cool coastal air


will make the course seem decidedly longer. Still, the Lake Course emits a democratic vibe— welcoming to players of various styles, the kind of course where either a short hitter or long hitter could win. More than anything, the winner must maneuver and shape shots to account for the many dogleg holes and canted fairways. And then, as always, he


will need to make some putts. All the greens, formerly


poa annua, were converted to bentgrass during the course’s renovation in 2008 and ’09. This means a truer roll, presumably without the bumpiness of Torrey Pines four years ago (picture Woods’ memorable tieing putt on the 72nd hole) and the brown spots two years ago at Pebble Beach. “I’m absolutely con-


vinced you’ll see more putts made in this Open,” Davis said. “Olympic is harder than it has been, tee to green, but you’ll see more putts made than in prior Opens here.” Davis flipped par on Nos.


PHOTO: USGA


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